Countrywide polio vaccination campaign kicks off today

Drive aims to reach 13.5 million children

Razya Khan November 28, 2022


The third Sub-National Immunisation Days (SNIDs) campaign of the year has been launched to vaccinate 13.5 million children under the age of five in 36 districts of Pakistan.

The campaign will start from November 28 (today) across the country in nine districts of Punjab, eight districts of Sindh, and six districts of Balochistan and Islamabad.

In Khyber Pakhutnkhwa (K-P), the campaign will be launched on December 5, targeting nine high-risk districts of the region.

Over 100,000 trained and dedicated “Sehat Muhafiz” will be engaged in the vaccination drive to inoculate children at their doorstep.

“If we can eliminate the poliovirus from southern K-P, we will succeed in eliminating polio from Pakistan altogether. We are actually quite close to the finish line, and we are determined to get there as soon as possible,” said Federal Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Abdul Qadir Patel.

Pakistan has made great strides in the fight against polio, with virus circulation reduced to only one small part of the country, he added.

National Emergency Operation Centre Coordinator Dr Shahzad Baig emphasised that the anti-polio campaign required collective action at all levels to eradicate poliovirus from the country completely.

“Our aim is to ensure timely and repeated vaccination of eligible children. High-risk districts are our top priority, and we are keen to eliminate the poliovirus from the challenging areas while protecting the rest of the region as well,” he said.

“I particularly urge all parents and caregivers to get their children vaccinated instead of hiding them or refusing to take the necessary drops during all vaccination drives. It is important to realise that the polio virus still exists in our surroundings, and no child is safe until all children are truly vaccinated,” he added.

The “Sehat Tahhafuz” helpline 1166 and 24/7 WhatsApp helpline 0346-777-65-46 are available to assist parents and caregivers in reporting missed children.

Repeated polio vaccination campaigns are imperative for building immunity among children and preventing possible death or lifelong paralysis.

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five years. It invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease.

Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased. Repeated immunisations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio-free.

Pakistan is one of the two polio-endemic countries in the world along with its neighbour Afghanistan.


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